Jeffrey O'Leary receives the City of Mississauga Ward 9 Community Volunteer Award

Jeffrey O'Leary receives the City of Mississauga Ward 9 Community Volunteer Award

Community Volunteer Award

Earlier this month I was honoured to receive the City of Mississauga’s Ward 9 Volunteer Award. Presented by Ward 9 City Councillor Pat Saito, this award recognizes residents of Meadowvale and Central Erin Mills, who have volunteered for a minimum of 5 years in their local community.

For close to 10 years I have been actively involved in the local community, as an original member and Chair of the Lake Wabukyane Stewardship Committee and as a member of the Rotary Club of Mississauga-Meadowvale. City wide I have volunteered for a number of events including participating in a citizens committee on storm water management, and serving as a Director on the Mississauga Real Estate Board.

Jeffrey O'Leary posing at the Lake Waubkayne Stewardship Event with Mayor Hazel Mccallion

Lake Wabukayne with Mayor Hazel McCallion

I believe that Mississauga is at a cross roads in terms of development. Gone are the days of endless streets of large suburban homes, and now we are looking at urban intensification as our city matures. As a resident, getting involved in your local community is the best way to give back and to help shape the future of our community.

For those of you thinking of volunteering, I highly encourage you to do so. There’s a high sense of satisfaction from helping others and I believe that in the long run, you always get more back than you give!

Jeffrey O'Leary poses with a cheque for $10,000 donated to the Eden Food Bank

Proud to Raise over $10,000 for the Eden Food bank.

Do you have an idea for a project that will help the local community in north-west Mississauga? The Rotary Club of Meadowvale is always looking for new ideas and groups to partner with to make our a community a better place. If so I encourage you to contact me, I’d love to hear your idea and see if we can help.

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Jeffrey O'Leary and members of the Rotary Club of Meadowvale presenting a donation of $22,000 to Armagh House
Jeffrey O'Leary and members of the Rotary Club of Meadowvale presenting a donation of $22,000 to Armagh House

Here I am with other members of the Rotary Club of Meadowvale presenting a cheque for $22,000 to Armagh House

On February 6th, 2018, I had the pleasure of attending the Rotary Club of Mississauga West weekly dinner at The University of Toronto Mississauga Campus to present a donation for $22,000 to Armagh House, the only second-stage supportive housing program serving the Region of Peel.

The donation was a combined effort by The Rotary Club of Mississauga-Meadowvale, The Rotary Club of Streetsville, The Rotary Club of Mississauga and The Rotary Club of Mississauga-West to assist Armagh house with the renovation of their conservatory that will provide more space to the residents of the home.

An enjoyable night was had by all, and I wish Armagh House a speedy renovation!

Rotary Dinner for Armagh House

About Armagh House

Armagh House provides second stage housing, which is transitional housing for women and children leaving abusive relationships. As the only facility for second stage housing in Mississauga, Brampton and Peel Region, the staff do an excellent service for the community. If you want to get involved with Armagh, click here for more information on how to donate or volunteer.

Website: http://armaghhouse.ca/

About Rotary

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Locally, there are 7 Rotary Clubs in Mississauga, where members meet on a regular basis to donate their time, volunteer and make a difference in our local community and the world at large. Rotarians also like to have fun, and make connections in the community. If Rotary is something that interests you feel free to contact me.

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On Saturday June 3rd at 11am the Lake Wabukayne Stewardship Committee will be hosting our annual BBQ at Lake Wabukayne. Stop by and enjoy a free BBQ and live entertainment, visit the community program booths, learn CPR, explore the lake and meet your neighbours!

Location: 2630 Inlake Court, Mississauga. L5N 2A7

Below are some pictures from past events and of the lake.

 

 

The Butterfly Garden at Lake Wabukayne in #Meadowvale #Mississauga. Is it just me or does anyone else agree that spring can’t come soon enough? ☀

View on my run today! #meadowvale #mississauga #lakewabukayne

Hardy plants for sale

Lake Wabukayne with the Mayor

Here I am with Ward 9 City Councillor Pat Saito and the rest of the Lake Wabukayne Stewardship comittee for a few quick words

My son getting his face painted

Live music always makes an event more lively!

Lake Wabukayne Stewardship Comittee member A.Q Mufti getting his exercise planting trees

Lake Wabukayne, Meadowvale, Mississauga.

 

I want to share a story about a home I recently sold in Mississauga, and how it gives a good example of the ethical dilemma’s faced by real estate professionals every day.

The Background

Just recently I listed and sold a 3 bedroom, detached house located in Central Mississauga. The home showed pride of ownership, but aside from that it was a typical house for the area. It wasn’t the largest, and it wasn’t the most upgraded.

Our first step in the home selling process was to research the property and comparable sales.

What we discovered was that on average, similar homes were being listed just under $700,000 and selling for $720,000-$740,000.

Whenever I list a home, the first step is to determine market value of the home ‘as is’ meaning what it will sell for today without doing anything. Once the baseline value is established, an important part of our documented approach is to identify areas where we can raise the perceived value of the home and help our sellers make more money on the sale.

Over the years, we’ve developed a proven system that when implemented, allows for our sellers to easily make an extra $30,000+ on the sale that they otherwise wouldn’t have. In this case, I was confident that if our seller followed the plan we created for her, she would get her a top dollar sale, with my goal being closer to $770,000.

Our seller was all-in; she agreed to take care of all minor repairs and upgrades we identified in the initial assessment, do some paint touch ups, have the kitchen cabinets updated, change light fixtures and do a massive declutter. Once that was complete Stephanie came in and staged the home with furniture and props in order to prepare it for sale.

When it came to a pricing strategy, we decided to list the home at $699,000 with the goal of maximizing the exposure that a competitively priced home would get.

The Unrepresented Buyer

Within an hour of the home being listed for sale on the MLS, I received a call from a prospective buyer named ‘Bob’ (name changed for privacy reasons) who wanted to see the property. Since I was going to be stopping by the home later in the day to drop off feature sheets, I agreed to meet ‘Bob’ and his wife at the home.

Bob and his wife were a nice couple in their mid 30’s, educated and currently owned a freehold townhouse. We chatted for a bit, and then proceeded to tour the home. They were financially qualified, and both had good jobs. They loved the home, and wanted to put in an offer immediately.

“Jeff, let’s go back to your office a write up an offer for $735,000, no conditions”

Bob didn’t have a real estate agent, and wanted to use this to his advantage in negotiations. The only reason he contacted me directly was the hope that I would work harder for him, to ‘double end’ the sale and earn an extra commission.

It’s important to note that ‘double ending’ is how many real estate agents make a living. They use their client’s listings to barter more business for themselves. This is a common practice taught by many trainers and coaches in the industry, however it can easily lead to misrepresentation on the part of the real estate agent.

Aside from the verbal offer Bob made, within 2 hours of listing the home on MLS, we already had 15 home showings booked by other real estate agents. To be fair and transparent, I explained to Bob that the home had very high amount interest but that I would talk to my seller and call him later that afternoon with an answer.

I called my client and told her exactly what Bob discussed with me what he was offering. Not only is keeping our client informed the right thing to do, but as a Realtor we are obligated to do so. One of the fundamental duties in a client relationship is full disclosure, while at the same time protecting our client’s personal information and motivation from others.

Taking into account the high level of interest on the home, my client instructed me to continue with the showings and that she would not look at offers until the offer presentation date as originally planned. I also explained the potential conflict of me representing both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, and my client indicated she did not feel comfortable with me representing both her and the buyer.

I then called Bob and let him know my client’s wishes. I encouraged him to bring his offer on offer day and referred him to a very good realtor that would be more than happy to assist him in submitting an offer on the house.

2 Days Later

The showings were going extremely well, our advertisements were bringing in buyers and agents from all over the GTA. That evening I received another call from ‘Bob’. He wanted to level with me; he didn’t need the agent I referred him to speak on his behalf.

“Jeff, we are prepared to offer $745k right now, so your client gets 45k over asking price, and you get the double commission. Also, we have a house to sell and if we get this home we will use you to list our house for sale…”

Bob knew what he was doing, he was now dangling the possibility of 3 commissions, hoping my desire for more money would get me to ignore my duty to protect the best interests of my client. 

Now before I continue with the story, I receive ‘offers’ like this almost every time I list a home for sale, which tells me that this strategy works well on most listing agents. It’s sad that this is a strategy being employed by many realtors but the fact is that the average real estate agent only sells a handful of houses a year, so the temptation of 3 deals would be too much to resist.

For me, I would sooner quit the business and do something else over selling out my integrity. I was raised to be ethical and I just couldn’t live with myself knowing that I’m short-changing my clients.

I believe that the number one job of a real estate agent is to protect the interests of their clients above everyone else including their own. 

I thanked Bob for his continued interest, but reiterated from our previous conversation that my client would not entertain a verbal bully offer and that she was not comfortable with me representing both parties.

The Outcome

On offer day, my client was rewarded for her patience, and we ended up selling the house for $835,000. That’s $90,000 more than if she took the bully offer being proposed by Bob.

Bob did bring in an offer with a completely different agent, one who is known in the area for bait and switch tactics and unethical business practices, however it fell well short at $745,000.

On a daily basis, real estate agents are confronted with situations where they have the choice to act ethical, or to act in their self-interest. My job was to get my client the most money possible on the sale of her home and that’s exactly what I did, and what I do with every one of my clients.


I was recently asked the question. “Why do you make real estate videos in your car?”

My answer is: I don’t do video blogging just to increase my business, but to create a record of my thoughts and my experiences as they happen. Hopefully in 100 years from now my great grand kids can look back and see what I was like in 2017. Never before have we had the opportunity to create a legacy and leave evidence of everything we choose to share.

The other day I had a moment of appreciation on how much opportunity exists for people who are motivated in today’s world. For example, the fact that I am able to create, edit and share this video with the world is amazing. Just a generation ago, it would have been next to impossible to do this.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity that exist out there, but as a whole, we have never had more opportunity to make a difference as we do today.

On Friday January 20th, the Rotary Club of Mississauga-Meadowvale was happy welcome Rob and Heather Byce from the 3rd Meadowvale Scout Troop to our meeting at the Meadowvale Community Centre to talk about Scouts in the local community.

As an ongoing sponsor of scouts in the Meadowvale area, our club always appreciates an update of the wonderful things this organization does for the youth in the community. Heather gave an excellent presentation and as someone who was never personally involved in Scouts as a kid, I was impressed at the amount of activities and opportunities available to boys and girls who join Scouts.

Just some of the activities that the Meadowvale Scouts participate in include:

  • Science Camps
  • Ice Fishing
  • Archery
  • Rock Climbing
  • Zip lining
  • Working with tools
  • Camping
  • Wilderness skills
  • Dog sledding
  • Scuba diving
  • Hiking

On top of that, Scouts have the opportunity to travel internationally and attend Jamborees in other countries. Heather showed us pictures of recent Jamborees in Japan and Norway where scouts build leadership skills and meet new people.

Scouts Involvement in the Mississauga Community

Aside from the fun and educational activities the scouts get to participate in, they are also heavily involved in the local community. This stems from one of the pillars of scouts, which is ‘service to others’. Some of the charitable activities that scouts are involved in include:

  • Annual food drives
  • Planting trees
  • Santa Claus event
  • Apple Day
  • Cruisers Cup
  • Park Cleanups
  • Volunteering at various local community events

Rotary and Scouts

The relationship between Rotary and Scouts goes back 100 years. In 1918, Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary teamed up with a gentleman by the name of Jamie E West to bring the Boy Scouts to America and the relationship has been close ever since.

Locally, the Meadowvale Rotary Club has been a sponsor of the Meadowvale Scouts for years, helping financially to buy equipment such as tents and uniforms, and sponsoring children who may not be able to afford the activities.

About Scouts

Scouts is a non denominational group open to both boys and girls from all backgrounds that helps to develop future leaders by encouraging kids to be of service to others, try new things and promoting tolerance and understanding of others. Their vision is to help Canadian youth to make a meaningful contribution to creating a better world and their Mission is to help develop well rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world.

For more information on Scouts in general, click here.

Click here for more information on local scout groups in Mississauga.

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Are you a business person who is interested in joining an organization dedicated to giving back both locally and internationally? The Rotary Club of Mississauga-Meadowvale meets every second Friday for lunch at the Meadwovale Community Centre. Contact me for more details.

Contact The Village Guru Today

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Jamie Sarner is a Toronto Real Estate agent who runs a solid business and has a top notch website himself. He’s proven himself to be knowledgable, skilled and is definitely a Toronto expert. It may sound odd that a real estate agent would take the time to rank other real estate agent’s websites, but he knows this does nothing but boost his credibility, and showcase his ability to research. He has many guides and ranking on his site, and I think it’s a very useful tool for the public to help filter immense amounts of information.

I had made it into the top 50 a couple of times in past years, but since he shortlisted to 20 in recent years, (it is a lot of work, I don’t blame him) I had to step up my game to get back into the mix. He states that I’m a novice to his list; perhaps because I fell of it for a year, they forgot about me. Challenge accepted. Last year I did refocus my efforts on content, I wanted to get more personal in my blog, to step away from market updates and general info you can find anywhere. Its just me, my experiences and opinions. So hitting #16 was a good indication that I’m on track.

He noted one thing that is very true, my website is looking a little wrinkled around the edges, as it’s several years old now. Ever since Apple came out with a new website format that completely changed the look and feel of websites everywhere, and which thousands proceeded to copy, my design was needing some love. I’ve been working for FIVE months redesigning my website in the background until it is ready to launch, which I am planning for early February. It’s an absolutely massive undertaking, as anyone who’s redesigned their website will tell you. So good observation Jamie, and Im working on it! I’m aiming for Top 10 for 2017.

 

Click Here for the Full List

 

 

A Birthday Breakfast Turned Into a Business Lesson

It was my birthday several weeks ago, and my wife wanted to treat me to a relaxing morning. She let me sleep in, got the kids ready for school and after dropping them off we went to have my favourite breakfast at a local greasy spoon. As always, I ordered 3 scrambled eggs with bacon and home fries. When it comes to breakfast, I like it simple and consistent. You don’t have to be fancy with bacon and eggs; you just have to make it well.

When our meals came, I looked down and noticed my bacon looked like 3 pieces of charred leather. I picked up a piece and it instantly crumbled in my hand. As a rule, I tend not to send back food if I’m not bothered by the error, but with this meal, half the order was wrong and let’s face it, eggs just don’t taste the same without the bacon!

I managed to flag the waitress down and asked her to bring me some new pieces of bacon. She hesitated but put on the smile, said “of course” and took my plate away. Since she took all of my food away, I assumed that this would be replaced immediately, since my wife had her food and wasn’t going to let it sit and go cold.

20 minutes later, my wife was finishing up her breakfast and we were both very annoyed at this point. My new breakfast finally arrived, and the waitress apologized for the delay and said that there was another customer who complained about the bacon as well. They had a large group come in and she thinks the cooks pre-made a lot of bacon in advance to be prepared.

Of course, this apology did nothing to make me feel better or repair my experience, and this whole issue could have been avoided if any of the staff had been more proactive about the situation. Before having our children, my wife was a Human Resources Associate, and she had much to say about culture and how this was a perfect example of culture gone wrong. We had a long discussion about how it applies to all businesses and to my industry, in particular.

In the current situation, the staff clearly felt they were just there to do their job with a minimum amount of effort. Now, mistakes happen, but when you see a series of errors made by more than one person, there’s more to it. These errors are a reflection on the managers of the restaurant and the culture they’ve created. Below is a play-by-play of the miss-steps involved in my birthday breakfast, which demonstrated that the staff did not belong to a service-driven culture.

  1. The cook knowingly served crusty old bacon. Whether he had learned in the past that wasting food would bring negative consequences to himself, or whether he was careless about the quality of food he was serving is a mystery. Either way, he chose to put out bad food.
  2. The waitress did not quality-check the plates before bringing them to the guests. She admitted she knew of the quality issues with another guest. This suggests that she didn’t feel it was her responsibility or didn’t have any desire to repair the problem on her own before it had a chance of happening again.
  3. Our food was delivered and the server walked away. She didn’t stay to give us the chance to inspect our meals to ensure they were satisfactory to us. It’s one thing to bring bad food and ask (hope) if the client likes it. Leaving before we could say anything suggests the server wanted us to just accept the food, eat it, and not give her any hassle.
  4. When I complained, the server took all of my food but left my wife’s. In my opinion, you take it all or you leave what’s good and quickly replace the bad bacon. It’s Hospitality 101 that all guests should have their food at the same time. We came for the experience of eating together, not to take turns watching each other eat.
  5. A meal sent back should become top priority on the kitchen line. It’s a red flag that someone is not happy and it’s the kitchen’s fault. Instead of my new food coming out within minutes, my complaint got put to the back of the line and I waited longer for my second plate than I did for my first. If that’s not a passive-aggressive statement of “don’t bother me with your complaints”, I don’t know what is.

 

The Forgotten Role of Culture in Business

Culture is the life-blood and identity of a business. Everything from branding, training, staffing, service, products and marketing must stem from culture. It must be led, fed and exemplified by management, and tended to at all times to ensure every single staff member believes they are a part of this vision. The staff must believe that maintaining these attitudes and behaviours is critical to the company’s success. Staff must feel empowered to take ownership of their jobs, make them better, and know they will be recognized for their efforts. If management fails to live by example and breathe these values into their staff, neglect and indifference begin to spread like a disease.

For those organizations who don’t set out with their desired culture, a negative culture will set in by default.

 

The Culture in a Sales Office

In most sales offices, the goal is naturally to make more sales. This is logical; all companies want to generate more revenue. Greasy spoons want to sell more bacon and eggs and real estate companies want to sell more homes. But when the goal of “more sales” is so obsessed over that it becomes the company’s default culture, a whole host of service problems are created. Whatever management says is important in the terms of recognition or reward is what staff will focus on. It’s pretty simple. You can talk a good talk about quality, service, teamwork and initiative all you want, but if these things never get recognized in any established way, then it’s nothing but empty words with no actions. Those who care about client relationships will slowly leave, and slowly the company will attract more sales sharks.

Culture is always at work, impacting the company, it’s whether management is steering this activity or if it’s happening by default.

The rub is that most customers want really good service. Companies like Starbucks & Whole Foods prove that people are willing to pay a fair price for good service. It’s when the service becomes notoriously poor that customers demand rock bottom prices. So when your default culture is to “make more sales” instead of “knock the socks off your client’s expectations”, you enter into a race to the bottom where no on wins, especially the customer.

 

Real Estate Culture

Whether we are talking about an entire brokerage or a smaller team with 1 leader, most fall victim to the “more sales” goal, which has defaulted into their culture. Quantity and volume are critical, because this is what is being recognized as a success. Quality is spoken of, of course. Yes, we strive to provide THE BEST service to our clients. But this talk of “best service” isn’t written into any of their standard practices, their Key Performance Indicators, their systems, or processes. Their staff receive no rewards or recognition for the relationships they build that are deeper than a Facebook like or a cold call.

Culture is an incredibly difficult thing to get right, and an incredibly easy thing to get wrong.

I truly believe that a company’s culture must be founded on the customer experience and empowering staff to take ownership over this process. This requires ensuring there is no negative impact for trying to do the right thing, and no positive reward for cutting corners. Whether you run a greasy spoon or a real estate team, if you focus on creating a culture of empowerment and service, the happy customers and greater sales will naturally come.

I am the first one to admit that the reputation of my industry requires a bit of a spit and polish…..with the intensity of an industrial metal grinder. And I’ve made it part of my mission to lead the way to the next generation of integrity realtors.

In an recent blog I wrote about how to find the best agent, I spoke about how websites are a clear way to separate the agents who actually care about your experience and the ones who don’t. I, by no means, am the only realtor determined to do things the right way, and I know a lot of that small group. And not surprisingly, the websites of these realtors are significantly better than the rest. They share real information that they actually wrote themselves. They’ve invested in a website that is user friendly. They have something to offer beyond a list of homes for sale. They demonstrate week in and week out, that they care about your experience and your well being. This group of realtors is who you want to find and work with.

So, although this has not been the first time my blog has been recognized nationally, PropertySpark’s summary about me was especially meaningful. Their description of me and my blog is exactly what I hoped would come across as I write. When I’m busy with clients, working IN my business, it’s very hard to step out to work ON my business; to find the time to write, and to write well. I have a small team to help me, but no one can be me. I have to do that part.

The mistake of many realtors is that they subscribe to a template website that 1000 others have, and then post scripted, plain-vanilla generalities about the market. Or worse, use the template articles that come with the site. Try as you might, you have no clue who this person is or what they think. I speak for the Ontario Real Estate Board and I present to hundreds of agents, teaching them how to be authentic and transparent. THIS is what the pubic wants and needs. But fear of exposure or failure stops most in their tracks. But I refuse to play in that pack, I know to really succeed I have to travel my own path.

I am very honoured and very proud to be chosen as one of the Top 10 Canadian real estate blogs to follow, and I thank you for the time you take to let me into your world, and share my thoughts, observations and experiences with you.

I was recently interviewed by Point2Homes about the current real estate Market and what advice for Home Buyers I had. They were particularly interested if I saw any difference between a Mississauga Home Buyer and an Oakville Home Buyer. Given the prices across the GTA, there’s no great savings moving west, especially to Oakville with their endless high quality neighbourhoods and where every school ranks 8/10 or higher on Fraser School Rankings. The reason most people stay in Mississauga is if they want more cultural activities, amenities and access to Toronto. So lifestyle still does factor into my client’s search, but budget has no doubt risen to the top of the list. People are getting priced out of many many neighbourhoods, and if you want to buy property, it’s time to get a solid plan together, which includes working with a highly skilled realtor. Read the full article below:

Real Estate Agent Advice for First-Time Home Buyers (Expert Interview Series)

“Point2 Homes is a real estate marketplace serving the United States, Canada and numerous international locations. We are helping home buyers find the right home and sellers find the right buyer.”

 


Are you looking to work with a buyer agent who will provide you sound advice and a systemized approach to buying your next home? 

Contact The Village Guru Today

Tell us about your home buying goals how you want us to provide an experience that exceeds all of your expectations. If you’re looking for real service, we’re looking for you.


 

Parent Teacher Interviews

The other week was parent teacher interviews for my 3 boys. As I’m sure all parents out there can relate, they can be stressful, especially if there are some points of improvements that your kids need to work on.

For my wife Stephanie and I, we were a little nervous this time around because our youngest just started kindergarten and you never know what type of feedback you will receive at the first meeting. Luckily for us, the teachers really like him and he is getting along well in class. Just a little more focus on better problem solving and getting used to the routine, but aside from that he is progressing along fine.

The interviews for the older two boys still always makes us nervous but we’d been down this road before. After 3 and 4 years of school, we already knew what they excelled in and what their challenges were. We received their report cards a few days prior to the interviews, and it was good to see that the teachers’ evaluations were the same as our perceptions as well. Their observations showed me they had taken the time to really get to know and understand our boys, and how they learn. They saw their strengths and weaknesses and were confident in how we could world together to further build up our boys’ skills.

You Can do it Right, or You Can do it Easy, but Not Both

I thought about all my hard working teacher friends out there and I’m sure it would be much easier to tell every parent that their kid is doing “great” and gloss over any weaker areas. It would save teachers from having those difficult conversations with parents that can risk defensive reactions or disagreement. And in the end, the parents might not even find out till the next year, if ever, that there was something amiss. Or at least, it wouldn’t be that teacher’s problem anymore.

But that would be taking the easy way out, and in the long run, it isn’t in a child’s best interest to ignore away the issues. A good teacher wants to see their students improve and grow, and takes pride in being part of the process.

I think that same line of thought should apply to real estate as well, but sadly in most cases it doesn’t. When it comes to selling your home, most realtors are not focused on a client’s long term success, but instead, on the short term opportunity.

Let’s Compare the School Process with the Real Estate Process

School: you first receive your child’s report card so you can see how they are progressing. Second, you have an interview to go over the marks, identify improvement areas, and clarify any points. Finally, a plan is made with both the teacher and the parents with action items to help the child become the best student they can be.

Real Estate: First, there’s often “no report card”, or any research done about the home, the neighbourhood or relative value. Often the home owner will tell the agent what they think the home is worth, and the agent agrees to the price so that the owner is happy. Second, there is no truthful conversation about any shortcomings of the home, and how addressing these issues could improve value. Everything about the home is “great”, and the agent will only validate issues that are brought up by the owner so as not to offend. Last, there is no plan to work towards to create the most successful listing. They will tell the owner whatever they think they want to hear, pull out the listing paperwork and push to get it signed. This is how it’s done. 1,2,3 closed!

I’m going to share an inside secret with you, it’s common practice to teach real estate agents that if they leave your home without the listing signed, then they aren’t getting it. So instead of being objective, and offering advice that will get the home owner more money, most agents rely on telling the owners exactly what they want to hear, which is referred to as ‘buying your listing’.

Or put another way, it’s the poor assumption that if they tell you what you need to hear, then they will loose the listing to another agent who will tell you what you want to hear. This is not the way it should be done.

 

Following a Standardized Process Gets Better Results

This is The Village Guru documented approach: Assess, Plan and Implement (API). Our API system has been developed over years of selling homes and is designed to raise the value of homes to their maximum potential. Below is a brief outline of what this involves.

ASSESS:  We meet assess the owners goals, plans, limitations, budget, ability and interest. At this time we also identify all positive selling points and identify any potential challenges.

PLAN:  We work with the owner to plan what is reasonable and feasible to prepare the home together. Our plan outlines options to maximize the home’s salability and save you tens of thousands in lost profit, or the money “left on the table”

IMPLEMENT:  We work with you to carry out the work of preparing and staging your home. This includes professional photography. We also implement our proven marketing plan to bring buyers and top offers to the table.

Is this the easy way? No. Does it take fearlessness to tell the whole truth? Yep. Do I lose some listings for being honest? You bet. But there’s even more people out there who want to work with professionals – whether it’s teachers, realtors or ANY profession – who have the knowledge, skills and integrity to get the best results; who use a system that identifies opportunities, monitors progress and achieves results.

These are the home sellers who win at real estate. The more informed you are and the better plan we have, the greater the value we glean out of your home. So if you have a child who’s had a really good teacher, and you were appreciative that your child was able to learn and grow from their time with that teacher, this is the kind of experience I strive to provide to each and every one of my clients.

Santa Photo Day 2017

We are holding Santa Photo Day 2017 on Saturday November 18th from 10am to 12pm. Contact me to book your spot, all we ask is that you bring an unwrapped toy for charity. I hope to see you there!

On Saturday November 19th, my team and I hosted our 5th annual Santa Photo Day Event in support for Toys for Tots.

It’s really quite simple, we have one of our top photographers come in and do Christmas family portraits for clients, friends and family and we ask that everyone bring in an unwrapped toy to support Toys for Tots. Our goal this year is to collect 200 presents for children who otherwise won’t receive anything at Christmas time.

Thanks to everyone who attended, we are well on our way to collecting 200 toys for this year's #toysfortots drive.

Thanks to everyone who attended, we are well on our way to collecting 200 toys for this year’s #toysfortots drive.

Aside from Toys for Tots, I may be a bit biased when I say we run a pretty smooth event. With top notch photography and an organized staff, we are able to get hundreds of people in and out way quicker then at the mall, and the photo quality is much better than what you will get from a mall portrait.

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The ‘photo studio’ is set up in the lobby of our office at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service

Ray from A Perfect Pixel getting in close for the perfect shot

Ray from A Perfect Pixel getting in close for the perfect shot

One of my clients getting their family photo taken

One of my clients getting their family photo taken (taken on my iphone, not the actual portrait picture)

My boys!

My boys!

Santa Photo Day is one of my favourite days of the year. I love seeing my clients and friends have a good time and it feels good to contribute to a worthy cause like Toys for Tots. Below is a video I took of our event in 2013. I hope to have even more people out next year!

 

 

Although the topic of my speech is geared towards realtors, and how to attract potential customers, I wanted to share it out to everyone because I think it’s important for you to know that I was chosen as a featured speaker for this training series. This training series reaches thousands of realtors across the province each year, doing multiple stops from Niagara to Ottawa to Sudbury and everywhere in between.

2015 was my first year as a speaker for OREA, and I have just recently completed my second speaker session with them this month. When OREA chooses their speakers, they are looking for engaging personalities, who can offer cutting edge expertise and advice about what makes their business successful. And in the end, we all know that a truly successful business is one that service the needs of their clients, not just themselves.

In a muddy world where everyone is telling you they’re the best, who really is? The best compared to what? top 1% in Mississauga, or  top10% in Ontario, or #1 Port Credit Realtor, or Top Producing team for 2016? What does it all mean? Anyone who has taken a stats class knows all the numbers can be manipulated, but the clients I work with are looking for more than just a number, they want service. They want expertise and solid advice. They want integrity. This is why I feel I stand out among my peers in the value I can offer.

So you may or may not want to watch the actual video, but anytime I can show you that I have be recognized by the industry as leader in my field, I want to share this with you so that you can have that much more confidence in The Village Guru.

Celebrating Environmental Initiatives in Mississauga

Yesterday, on behalf of the Lake Wabukayne Stewardship Group I had the pleasure to attend the City of Mississauga’s Environmental Appreciation event, Community Green leaders: Celebrating Environmental Initiatives in Mississauga, and event to thank all of the community volunteers throughout the city who work to improve the environment.

The event was a lot of fun, and I was able to meet a number of people from different groups, all dedicated to improving our local environment. On top of learning more about all the other interesting projects throughout the city, I was able to get some great ideas to take back to the Lake Wabukayne group in Meadowvale.

Here I am speaking on a panel about the Lake Wabukayne Stewardship Committee.

Here I am speaking on a panel about the Lake Wabukayne Stewardship Committee.

As part of the event, I was asked to speak on a panel about our groups project, and I was happy to see so many people interested in what we have done over the past 6 years here in Meadowvale. I can’t wait to attend next year.

 

I know, I know, I’ve told you a thousand times not to to focus your attention on realtors pulling out their trophies and waving them around. Yes, I still stand by that claim. It’s not the be all and end all of anything. It’s more of a personal symbol of a year of hard work completed, and that I’m confidently moving into the next year. No, I don’t spend $10,000/month to stay on the front cover of the local newspaper and somehow you all still find me. Thank you for that, and your continued support of me and my blog. #TheyDidntWriteTheVillageGuru……next year. 🙂

 

The other day I happened to notice my son using google translate to do his French Homework. While I can appreciate his creativity in finding the most efficient way to complete his home work, as a parent I know that using a tool like this is defeating the whole purpose of doing the work in the first place, which is to learn French.

In homework just as in life, shortcuts rarely lead to success.

In homework just as in life, shortcuts rarely lead to success.

When I asked him why he was using a translating tool to do his home work, he said that he wanted to get perfect on his homework so that we (his Mother and I) and his teacher would be happy with him…

In a world so focused on results, many times we try to find shortcuts that end up hurting us in the long run, and this was no different in the case of my son’s homework. I explained why he needed to do his homework without outside help, and how it would help him to learn a new skill that will help him for the rest of his life and thankfully he understood. But it got me thinking about my own career.

For example, in the real estate industry, many realtors constantly take short cuts in their marketing, always looking to generate more business the quickest way possible. The problem is that by doing this they never develop a proper business, always chasing the next shiny object or promise to increase their business instead of taking the time to focus on their customers.

In today’s fast paced world we are encouraged to look for the path of least resistance. Whether in business or personal life, we are always looking to take a short cut, be more efficient or make more money. While all of those are great goals to have in and of themselves, by taking shortcuts we often rob ourselves of learning something new, building a solid foundation and in many cases hurt our chances of success in the long run.

 

 

Mississauga Rotary Clubs and the Mississauga Food Bank are joining forces to fight hunger in Mississauga.

On a brisk February day, Mississauga Rotarians pose in front of a Mississauga Food Bank truck to present Executive Director Chris Hatch a cheque for $20,000 to fight hunger in Mississauga.

“It would be impossible to achieve our vision of a Mississauga where no one goes hungry  without partners like the Rotary Clubs of Mississauga,“  says Chris Hatch, executive director of The Mississauga Food Bank. “This partnership enables us to provide wholesome food to hungry families, children and seniors in every corner of  our city.”

While individual Rotary Clubs have been involved with the Mississauga Food Bank in the past, this is the first time that all nine Mississauga Clubs have joined forces to contribute as one.

My club, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale visiting the Food Bank for the Holiday Ham drive

My club, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale making a donation to the Food Bank for the Holiday Ham drive

“The Rotary Clubs of Mississauga are untied in our commitment to build a stronger Mississauga where no neighbour goes hungry,” said Kathy May, President of the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale.

The donation will go towards providing fresh vegetables and also the logistics of picking up and delivering food donations to neighbourhood food banks and pantry’s in every area of Mississauga.

Find out more information or to volunteer at the Mississauga Food Bank  

About Rotary in Mississauga

There are over three hundred active Rotarians in Mississauga.  Rotarians are business men and women, who are committed to making a difference in their community and abroad. If you are interested in learning more about Rotary and/or becoming involved in local and international projects with emphasis on health, alleviating poverty, education and peace then visit a club nearest you. Find one that is right for you at www.mississaugarotary.org.

About Rotary International

Rotary is 1.2 million neighbours, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Find out more about Rotary International.